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Current Position:Home » News » Marketing & Retail » Food Marketing » Topic

Its all about finding new markets for traditional British vegetables

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-06-26  Views: 5
Core Tip: The fresh produce sector is full of trendy new fruit and weird and wonderful vegetables, so with such a wide variety of products to choose from how do you get consumers to eat good old fashioned British veg?
The fresh produce sector is full of trendy new fruit and weird and wonderful vegetables, so with such a wide variety of products to choose from how do you get consumers to eat good old fashioned British veg?

One company specialising in traditional veg is Mash Direct from Northern Ireland, who's main products are mashed potatoes, mashed carrot and parsnips. But they also supply more value added products such as crispy vegetable bakes which are particularly good sellers in England as well as neeps and tatties, a good seller in Scotland. Different regions have different tastes but the traditional dishes are the ones which sell the best.

60% of the vegetables are grown on the family farm in Ireland but the company does have a little bit of supply coming in from Scotland and now and then from England if needed. These are vegetables that store well so a year round supply is not a problem.

That said, Mash Direct are not content to just stick with traditional veg or for people to just eat it in the winter time either.

"Some of the new products in the range are an attempt to bring the traditional winter veg onto the summer menus with products like carrot and parsnip fries which are selling fantastically well," explains Jack Hamilton, Director of Mash Direct. "We launched five new lines into Tesco last week: one of which is sweet potato fries, as people are a bit more conscious about eating carbohydrates these days and everything is gluten free."

The idea of marketing these slightly boring traditional vegetables might seem like a challenge, but as Jack explains, "When you see these vegetables they have great colours so you need to show them them properly, with nice packaging and good open presentation. The supermarket shelves have become more own label focused and the various products all look a bit the same, so we can add a bit of variety and colour to it."

100% of the company's products are sold under the Mash Direct brand. "We are a family company, I'm the 6th generation to be in the business and we always like to make sure that our name is on our products so our customers know exactly where their vegetables come from. They can also go on social media and learn a bit more about the farm as well, we have a weekly video from the farm to let people see what we are up to. Seeing potatoes and carrots might not seem all that exciting but when they see where they come from and how they are grown they can understand the traceability and providence behind it."

Tracy, Jack and Lance Hamilton with potatoes

Mash Direct supplies 5000 stores in the UK and Ireland, this includes independent stores as well as the big retail chains, food service and food manufacturing.

"Its all about finding new markets for traditional British vegetables," concludes Jack.

 
 
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